© 1997-2021
John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Event: 70th Varsity Match • Venue: West London CC • Date: 29 March 1952
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1951 • Forward to 1953 • last edited: Thursday January 14, 2021 6:14 PM

The 70th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at West London Chess Club on 29 March 1952. Only two game scores from this match are available (boards 1 and 6).

Bd Oxford University 1952 Cambridge University Opening, No. of Moves
1w Daniel Abraham Yanofsky (University) ½-½ Oliver Penrose (King's) Ruy Lopez
2b Leonard William Barden (Balliol) 1-0 Denis Victor Mardle (Christ's) English
3w John Edward Pike (Exeter) ½-½ Neil McKelvie (Queens') Ruy Lopez
4b David John Youston (Hertford) ½-½ Anthony George Conrad Paish (Caius) Two Knights
5w John Alexander (New) 0-1 Henry Alec Samuels (Magdalene) King's Indian
6b Henry Morton (Christ Church) 1-0 Alan John Willson (St John's) King's Indian
7w David Leslie Barrett (Corpus Christi) 1-0 Jeremy John Arthur Handley (Selwyn) Sicilian

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 31 March 1952; Manchester Guardian, 31 March 1952 & 17 April 1952, p3; BCM, May 1952, p130.


Venue: West London CC, 23 Stratford Road, W8 (10am). Adjudications (boards 1, 4 and 5) by Sir George Thomas.

[The Times, 31 March 1952] "OXFORD'S WINNING LEAD IN CHESS MATCH - CLOSE GAME ON TOP BOARD - FROM OUR CHESS CORRESPONDENT - Oxford won the university chess match at the West London Club on Saturday, for they lead Cambridge by 4—1 with two games to be adjudicated by Sir George Thomas. The standard of play was high, as expected—Yanofsky and Barden were prize-winners in the recent Hastings international tournament, and Penrose and Mardle have competed with success in the British championship. Against Yanofsky’s Ruy Lopez, Penrose defended with the open variation, and both sides played for attack, bringing about a complicated game. At call of time, after several exchanges, they had reached a rook and pawn ending with bishops of opposite colour, and a draw seems likely. Barden had some advantage when, faced with a breakthrough, Mardle blundered in a critical position. In desperation he sacrificed a piece, but cool play by Barden won easily. Pike lost his opening advantage but managed to force a draw by repetition of moves. Paish worked up an attack by returning a sacrificed pawn, but the Oxford player equalized to a drawn ending. The next board should be a win for Cambridge, a pawn upon adjudication. The best game of the match was played on board six, where Morton obtained control of the queen’s bishop’s file and, by a pretty sacrifice, smashed his way to a mating attack. Barrett had the advantage throughout against Handley, who was afflicted with a bad bishop. Oxford had white on the odd-numbered boards. [results but no game scores]"

[Manchester Guardian, 31 March 1952, page 6] "UNIVERSITY CHESS - The annual chess match between Oxford and Cambridge on Saturday resulted in victory for Oxford by 4 to 1 and two unfinished games." (Game score of Willson-Morton given on 17 April 1952.)

[BCM, May 1952, p130] "On March 29th, at the West London C.C., an exceptionally strong Oxford team defeated Cambridge... [results] during the preceding week the Combined Universities defeated the Civil Service 10½-9½ and Insurance CC 13-7. The annual encounter between Past Members was won by Cambridge 7½-4½, who thus maintain a good lead in the series which dates from just after the first world war."

Biographical Information

Daniel Abraham (Abe) Yanofsky (25 March 1925 - 5 March 2000). Canada's first grandmaster (1964). Played for Canada aged 14 at the 1939 Buenos Aires Olympiad and caused a sensation by making the highest score on board two. Eight times Canadian champion between 1943 and 1965. British Champion in 1953. Played in the 1952 and 1953 Varsity chess matches. Wikipedia. Leonard Barden comments: (re a flat which Barden and Yanofsky shared in the early 1950s) "The address at 8 Abbey Road, very near to Oxford station, was discovered by Bill Bowen in 1938. The landlady Olga Dunkel was a refugee from Latvia and her son Chris was the chess secretary for Morris Motors which then had a thriving club. After the war the room passed on to Pike and when he left he passed it on to me for my third year. Olga was duo patriotic in that she had a picture of the Queen over one side of the fireplace and of Stalin on the other side. When Joe died she wept for a day. She did introduce me to peroshkis, a Russian dish which I have never since had the pleasure of eating. Then the Yanofskys came and the top floor was made into a flat with them. So Pike and I never lived there together. I was in the same building as Yanofsky for a year, but we never played or analysed together in all that time. The arrangement came to a sticky end when Hilda Yanofsky became pregnant and Olga developed an anxiety state and accused Hilda of stealing her spoons."

Jeremy John Arthur Handley (born November 1930, Birmingham, died 8 April 2016, Bristol) - Director of Proctor and Gamble and Chairman of their Pension Fund Trustees. 1984-91, head of purchasing for Europe, Middle East and North Africa (based in Belgium).

"Dr. Neil McKelvie was born in Welwyn Garden City, England. He played 1st board while attending Cambridge. After coming to the United States to study at Columbia, he won the Connecticut State Championship in 1962 and the Manhattan Chess Club Championship in 1975 and 1979. He is User: ChemMac on the Chessgames website." (Chessgames.com)

Anthony George Conrad Paish, better known as Tony Paish, received the English Chess Federation's President's Award in 2012.

Henry Alec Samuels, better known as Alec Samuels - played in the 1958 British Chess Championship - see English Chess Forum comments by Leonard Barden. Also comments further up the same page, by me.

File Updated

Date Notes
2019 Original upload
2020 Some commentary added from Leonard Barden for which many thanks.


All material © 2019 John Saunders